White Reaper — "Judy French"
"Butt rock" week continues, and we really need a better name for this pseudogenre.
I played around with ChatGPT last week and asked it to write this email. Here’s what it came up with:
Good first attempt, Skynet.
White Reaper were a 2017 end-of-year Spotify algorithm find for me. Like a handful of bands from the dimly-lit corners of Indie and Alternative, they were one of the many acts who happened to have released an album on Polyvinyl and saw little to no publicity. (They later jumped ship to a major label, released another album during the pandemic, and still saw next to no publicity. So it goes.)
White Reaper also doesn’t particularly sound like a band that would be on Polyvinyl (the home of Alvvays and of Montreal, among many other artists). Instead, they sound like a bunch of punks trying and almost nailing the sounds of KISS and Cheap Trick, but finding their speed along the way. This makes for a sound that’s simultaneously retro and refreshing, and “Judy French” is the best example of this approach.
As my robot friend already told. you, it’s a song about pining after a woman, complete with the guitar solos and hooky chorus that its ‘70s forebearers had in spades. It’s not the band’s thesis statement (as that honor would belong to “The World’s Best American Band”), but it was my entry into the band’s canon, and I couldn’t think of a better starting point for new listeners.